The C. Bechstein piano factory was founded on 1 October 1853 by Carl Bechstein in Berlin, Germany. I
It was Bechstein's vision to manufacture a piano able to withstand the great demands imposed on the instrument by the virtuosi of the time, By 1870, with the endorsements by world renowned pianists such as Franz Liszt and Hans von Bülow, C. Bechstein pianos became a staple at many concert halls, as well as in private mansions.
Driven by a dedication to excellence and quest for perfection, in 1885 C. Bechstein first supplied a piano to Queen Victoria. A gilded art-case piano was first delivered to the Buckingham Palace, then several more Bechstein pianos were delivered to Windsor Castle and to other royal residences and soon held a Royal Warrant as a supplier to the Queen.
Whilst Carl Bechstein died in Berlin on 6 March 1900 his legacy lives on and C. Bechstein continue to produce arguably the highest quality pianos in the world to date.
Hand-crafted, built over the course of at least nine months, and steeped in history, C. Bechstein Academy grand pianos represent our entrance into the world of German instruments. Located in Seifhennersdorf, the C. Bechstein factory is the birthplace of some of the most nuanced instruments that you can find, and the Academy line are perhaps some of the best instruments available for home use.
C. Bechstein Academy grand pianos are slightly cut back compared to their Concert line, but some of the changes are made to save time on elements that don’t offer any musical advantages. An example of this is the iron frame of the piano; where they are polished to a mirror shine on Concert instruments, they are left with a matte finish on Academy pianos. The two lines also have different sound profiles, and the Academy instruments are generally less concerned about the projection and energy of the treble area of the piano, instead prioritising a calmer, smoother sound.
Common features of the C. Bechstein Academy line include Ciresa AAA solid-spruce soundboards, mahogany-cored hammers made in-house by C. Bechstein, the finest steel and hand-wound copper strings, and every piano receives three voicings and regulations before being signed off by one of C. Bechstein’s Master Technicians. All pianos are built in a factory where each individual room has bespoke temperature and humidity control, ensuring the raw materials have the smoothest journey possible and the resulting piano be as stable as it deserves to be.
The C. Bechstein Academy instruments are extremely warm and welcoming instruments, exhibiting a sound that is both intimate and intense. A soft, compliant action enables pianists to feel right at home straight away, making these pianos perfect for occasional players that want a truly special instrument in their home. C. Bechstein Academy pianos are built to last and, in some cases, rival the very best that other manufacturers can make.
It takes anywhere from fifteen to eighteen months to build a C. Bechstein Concert piano from start to finish. Whether it’s described as sheer fanaticism or the ultimate expression of the piano builder’s art, Concert line pianos are lovingly put together using the choicest materials, the most experienced technicians, and the finest workmanship. Adopted by pianist-composers such as Debussy, Liszt, Ravel, Bartók, and Wagner, these pianos are deeply rooted in the development of western classical music, and are still considered to this day to be amongst the finest pianos on the planet.
As C. Bechstein Concert pianos have become exceedingly rare since the 1950’s, the experience of playing one can be a little surprising at first; these instruments have lighter key actions than equivalent American, Viennese, or Japanese pianos. Once the player gets accustomed to the instrument, they are welcomed by the complex tonal palette and huge dynamic range that these pianos offer. The bass and tenor registers have unparalleled sense of solidity and homogeneity, yet speak with a refined clarity and transparency. The treble register has a crystalline brilliance, where the overtone content is bursting with energy and vibrancy.
Common features of the C. Bechstein Concert line include the finest Ciresa AAA+ solid-spruce soundboards with a tapered design, walnut-cored hammers made in-house by C. Bechstein, beech casework interlaminated with mahogany, dovetail joints for improved stability, an extensively recalibrated piano action, and every piano receives three voicings and regulations before being signed off by one of C. Bechstein’s Master Technicians. The larger Model B, Model C, and Model D benefit from a treble bell; a cast iron horn that adjusts the tensile strength of the piano’s bridge, allowing the projecting power of the treble register to be regulated to taste.
The C. Bechstein Concert instruments are of the highest calibre; modern-day musicians such as Stephen Hough and Julian Anderson advocate for the C. Bechstein name, and it’s easy to see why. The light action provides an incredible level of responsiveness, control, and tactile feedback. The tone can be vibrant and declamatory, or veiled and muted; C. Bechstein voicing of the una corda pedal being particularly excellent. Claude Debussy once said that C. Bechstein pianos were the only pianos worth writing for, and these modern instruments epitomise the range of colour and texture that his music demands. C. Bechstein Concert instruments are exquisite, momentous, and mighty.
At least nine months of time is taken to build each C. Bechstein Residence upright piano. The choicest materials, the most experienced technicians, and the finest workmanship result in what are widely considered to be the finest upright pianos on the planet. The first piano that Carl Bechstein built in 1853 was an upright piano, and his pianos have had a direct impact on the development of western classical music thanks to its adoption by pianist-composers such as Debussy, Liszt, Ravel, Bartók, and Wagner.
C. Bechstein Residence pianos possess a highly sought-after combination of warmth and clarity. The bass and tenor registers have width and homogeneity without sacrificing transparency or separation, and the treble register has an incredible singing quality with unmatched projection or brilliance; the strength and complexity of the piano’s overtones are unlike any other. Even the compact Residence R116 and R118 instruments have a diverse, voluminous dynamic range, yet are capable of the most intimate pianissimos. The taller R124 instruments have a sound profile one would likely expect from a baby grand piano; fortissimo playing is forthright and declamatory.
Common features of the C. Bechstein Residence line include the finest Ciresa AAA+ solid-spruce soundboards with a tapered design, walnut-cored hammers made in-house by C. Bechstein, beech casework interlaminated with mahogany, dovetail joints for improved stability, an extensively recalibrated piano action, and every piano receives three voicings and regulations before being signed off by one of C. Bechstein’s Master Technicians.
The C. Bechstein Residence instruments are simply incredible; an action that is light yet extremely precise, a tone that combines warmth and separation, and stability that will ensure life-long enjoyment. These instruments are rather scarce, but we at Millers are adamant that the C. Bechstein Residence line offer the greatest upright piano experience possible. BREAK For those looking for a truly superlative experience, the C. Bechstein Concert 8 is a mighty upright piano that comes off of the same production line as the C. Bechstein Concert line of grand pianos. Put simply, the best upright piano we've ever played.